A reader offers an updated review on Friday The 13th and finds it to be much improved from launch… but still not finished.
So, as with a lot of games in recent history, when Friday the 13th: The Game was released back in May 2017 it was a bit of a buggy mess with characters doing things that they shouldn’t be, such as floating around in mid-air! The server issues were crippling as well, with users waiting 10 to 20 minutes to get an online game, which for an online asymmetrical horror game was quite a bit of a drawback!
However, fast forward eight months and we have quite a different experience of the game now, from what GameCentral gave a commendable 6/10 to despite all of its problems. There have been a lot of updates, some affecting the gameplay itself and how characters act and react throughout the game, and some bringing completely new game modes with them. So here goes a review of the game as it is now.
It is very clear, right from the very first menu screens, that this game has been made by people with a lot of love for the Friday the 13th movie series. Right from the off you see the iconic hockey mask staring back at you, whilst the familiar whisper of ki-ki-ki-ma-ma-ma haunts (taunts?) you in the background. Almost daring you to join a game!
The main mode of Friday The 13th is the online DeathMatch (which is the only mode it released with last year). Here there are eight players involved, seven of whom will be chosen as camp counsellors and one of whom will be chosen as Jason Voorhees – the series antagonist. Jason’s sole purpose is to kill every last counsellor on the map, and the counsellors purpose is to escape and/or kill Jason. As in the movies, it is extremely difficult to kill Jason and can only be performed with a certain amount of teamwork between the counsellors and a certain couple of items. So if you manage it, you’re doing very well indeed!
Since the updates have come in the game is a lot more even now. Yes, Jason is still hugely overpowered, but then he needs to be if he is to be an unstoppable killing machine. And it does help keep the tension turned right up to 11 when he turns up behind your counsellor character. There’s another nice touch to the game when Jason is on your tail, where you get some original tension music from the series (or if the Jason on the map is the retro Jason from the old NES game you get a very cool 8-bit chip tune playing as you run) as well as your screen flickering and fuzzing up briefly, as if you’re viewing it on a temperamental VHS player.
As a counsellor your main objective is to loot the drawers of the cabins you come across to find useful items such as pocket knives, which are an invaluable defence against Jason; healing sprays; a map of the area; and car keys or fuses.
If you find car keys you know you have a way to escape the map, however, you still have a hell of a lot to do to escape – you either have to go around and find the car battery and the petrol in order to start the car or team up with other counsellors to keep watch for Jason whilst they repair the car. All of this really adds to the tension when Jason inevitably shows up mid-repair, invariably making you jump out of your skin when your screen goes fuzzy.
As Jason, all you need concern yourself with is the deaths of those pesky counsellors. This isn’t as easy as it seems though, as they fight back with weapons of their own and carry pocket knives with them which they automatically stab Jason in the neck with to make their escape. Luckily Jason has a few tricks up his sleeve with four main abilities, and Morph allows Jason to insta-travel to any point on the map you feel like sending him. Helpfully Jason can see everything on the map, so always knows where the phone is, where the cars and boats are, and where the power points are. All of which can be sabotaged to gain XP and, crucially, to stop counsellors finding an escape route.
Sense allows Jason to see heat mirages of counsellors if they’re close enough. And if they’re hiding in a house, the house will glow red to show that somebody is in there. Shift switches Jason to a first person view and what I can only assume is a homage to The Evil Dead, allows Jason to speed along at a hundred miles an hour to catch up with a sprinting counsellor. Stalk is the final ability and mutes all Jason’s music so that the counsellors don’t know when he is on their tail and Jason can hear more movement.
Out of the two, it is still much more fun to be Jason, what with Jason’s special kill moves that have been lifted straight from the movies and will fill you with a sort of twisted glee at seeing your first counsellor decapitated or dismembered in a gloriously OTT fashion. Having said this, as a counsellor, you are no longer just waiting to be picked off by Jason. Once you are armed with some sort of weapon you can at least begin to fight back. You can’t however, stand toe-to-toe with Jason and expect not to be killed.
There are now more maps to choose from for the DeathMatches, although three of the seven are scaled down versions of existing larger maps. Which is perhaps a little lazy, but they do the job while we await the upcoming Jason X map and rumoured Jason Goes to Hell map. The Jarvis House map is wonderfully detailed however, even featuring a table full of homemade horror masks made by Tommy Jarvis in Friday the 13th Part 4. There are plenty of hiding places and things to find on this map and it does seem to be a favourite with online hosts at the moment.
There are now a couple of offline modes for you to play too which, I would suggest, boost the longevity of the game and will enable you to still be playing when the inevitable point comes where the servers are no longer active. Offline Bots is basically the same as the online mode, except for that you always get to be Jason and can practice your skills at offing thee counsellors. Don’t get me wrong, it is tremendous fun to play as Jason whenever you want, especially if you have been stuck playing as a counsellor for lots of matches in a row.
However, even when you switch to hard mode, you can almost always kill off all of the counsellors within the time limit. This may not sound like a bad thing but when the developers sell the mode as a way to hone your Jason skills you would be forgiven for feeling a little peeved when you switch back to online mode and realise that you are hard pushed to kill more than four of the counsellors running around the map. Online is always a different beast to playing against the computer but Offline Bots mode is not the place to practice your ‘Jason-ing’!
Virtual Cabin 2.0 is a reimaging of a mode included in the PC beta back in 2016, and is quite a quirky little mode. In this you switch to first person view and wander around a cabin where you get to uncover little snippets about props used in the movies, as well as bits about the development of the game. However, there are quite a few little Easter Eggs on offer here for those willing to explore and apparently some cool cut scenes based on the movie events can be triggered by collecting certain keys or badges. It plays a little bit like the P.T. demo that should have been Silent Hills a few years back, so is worth a bit of your time for a change of pace or something a bit different.
The only gripe I have with the game really is that it still isn’t finished, even now. There are a range of game modes and maps coming up ‘soon’, whenever that will be, but we should remember that Gun Media and Illfonic are fledgling developers and I get the impression they are trying their best with a game they never expected to be as popular as it is. Among the modes coming up are Paranoia, which sounds intriguing, where Jason doesn’t feature but the killer is actually a randomly picked counsellor and the others have to figure out who it is before it’s too late. Actually, it’s kind of what the Amstrad 464 version of Friday The 13th did back in the day but fingers crossed this one will be done just a smidge better than the 464 version!
We are also awaiting challenge mode which, according to the developers, is very much like the Hitman challenge mode where the player plays as Jason and has to successfully carry out a series of… well, challenges. This should ensure more longevity for the game but at the moment there is no indication of when this might come. Hopefully it won’t be too long that people lose interest in playing before it comes.
You do kind of get the impression that the game had to be released to start bringing in some much-needed cash for the developers (it was a crowdfunded game) and maybe would be better if it had been released as a full product. But what there is shows plenty of promise and shows plenty of love to the source material. And if the new game modes and maps coming up are as good as what has come so far then Friday The 13th should have a bright future on consoles.
- Great homage to the films
- Tense confrontations with Jason
- Great music
- Still not finished
- Not quite enough variation in maps
By reader Richard Hyde
The reader’s feature does not necessary represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.